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Golden coin depicting man with diadem facing right
Aureus depicting Quintillus. Inscription reads IMP C M AVR QVINTILLVS AVG
Roman emperor
Reign270 (17–177 days)
PredecessorClaudius Gothicus
Bornunknown date
Sirmium, Pannonia Inferior (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia)
Aquileia, Italy
Issue2 sons
Marcus Aurelius Claudius Quintillus
Regnal name
Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Claudius Quintillus Augustus[1]

Marcus Aurelius Claudius Quintillus (died April 270) was a Roman emperor. He was a brother of Emperor Claudius Gothicus, whom he succeeded after Claudius' death in 270. Quintillus' claim to be emperor was challenged by Aurelian, who was proclaimed emperor by the legions he commanded. Quintillus' reign lasted no more than six months – some sources report that it was as short as 17 days – before he died. Different sources report his cause of death as murder by his own soldiers, in battle with Aurelian, or by suicide.

Early life[edit]

Marcus Aurelius Claudius Quintillus[2] was born at Sirmium in Pannonia Inferior.[3] Originating from a low-born family, Quintillus came to prominence with the accession of his brother Claudius Gothicus to the imperial throne in 268. Quintillus was possibly made Procurator of Sardinia during his brother's reign.

Reign of Quintillus[edit]

Quintillus was declared emperor either by the Senate or by his brother's soldiers upon the latter's death in 270. Eutropius reports Quintillus to have been elected by soldiers of the Roman army immediately following the death of his brother;[4] the choice was reportedly approved by the Roman Senate. Joannes Zonaras reports him elected by the Senate itself.[5] Records, however, agree that the legions which had followed Claudius in campaigning along the Danube were either unaware or disapproving of Quintillus' elevation. They instead elevated their current leader Aurelian as emperor.[6]

The few records of Quintillus' reign are contradictory. They disagree on the length of his reign, variously reported to have lasted as few as 17 days and as many as 177 days (about six months).[7] Records also disagree on the cause of his death. Historia Augusta reports him murdered by his own soldiers in reaction to his strict military discipline.[8] Jerome reports him killed, presumably in conflict with Aurelian.[9] John of Antioch and Joannes Zonaras reported Quintillus to have committed suicide by opening his veins and bleeding himself to death;[5][10] John reports the suicide to have been assisted by a physician.[11] Claudius Salmasius noted that Dexippus recorded the death without stating causes.[12] All records however agree in placing the death at Aquileia.

Quintillus was reportedly survived by his two sons.[13]

The Historia Augusta reports Claudius and Quintillus having another brother named Crispus and through him a niece, Claudia, who reportedly married Eutropius and was mother to Constantius Chlorus.[14] Some historians however suspect this account to be a genealogical fabrication to flatter Constantine I.[15]


Ruins of Imperial Palace at Sirmium, today in Sremska Mitrovica

Surviving Roman records considered Quintillus a moderate and capable Emperor.[16] He was seen as a champion of the Senate and thus compared to previous Emperors Galba and Pertinax. All three were highly regarded by Senatorial sources despite their failure to survive a full year of reign.[15]


  1. ^ Cooley, Alison E. (2012). The Cambridge Manual of Latin Epigraphy. Cambridge University Press. p. 500. ISBN 978-0-521-84026-2.
  2. ^ Jones, pg. 759
  3. ^ "These men are usually called the Illyrian emperors since they all were born in that province (Illyricum) and were raised to power by legions stationed there." The Ancient World, Joseph Ward Swain
  4. ^ Eutropius IX:12
  5. ^ a b Zonaras, 12:26
  6. ^ Gibbon, Ch. 11
  7. ^ Southern, pg. 110
  8. ^ Historia Augusta, Claudius, 12:5
  9. ^ Jerome, Chronica s.a. 271
  10. ^ "Quintillus". Archived from the original on 22 August 2017. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  11. ^ John of Antioch, fr. 154 FHG IV, p. 599
  12. ^ Historia Augusta, Claudius, 12:6
  13. ^ Historia Augusta, Claudius, 13:9
  14. ^ Historia Augusta, Claudius, 13:1
  15. ^ a b Banchich, www.roman-emperors.org/quintil.htm
  16. ^ See Eutropius, IX:12


Primary sources[edit]

Secondary sources[edit]

  • Banchich, Thomas, "Quintillus (270 A.D)", De Imperatoribus Romanis
  • Jones, A.H.M., Martindale, J.R. The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Vol. I: AD260-395, Cambridge University Press, 1971
  • Southern, Pat. The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine, Routledge, 2001
  • Gibbon, Edward. Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire (1888)
Regnal titles
Preceded by Roman emperor
Succeeded by